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NASEM Workshop Explores Culture of Data Management and Sharing

On April 28 – 29, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a workshop for researchers, institutions, and funders to examine strategies to promote effective data management and sharing. Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the workshop also sought to assess stakeholder preparedness for implementation of the agency’s final policy for data management and sharing for all NIH-funded research beginning January 25, 2023. Maryann Martone, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego and Richard Nakamura, who retired from the NIH Center for Scientific Review, are co-chairing the activity.

Resources from the workshop, including background materials and presenter slides, are posted here. The archived recordings will be posted in approximately two weeks. 

Panels over the two days addressed a range of topics and factors that can enhance or serve as barriers to data sharing, including data type, format, and accessibility. There was also extensive discussion regarding the need to balance mandates, such as the NIH policy, with incentives to foster the desired data sharing ecosystem and provide support so researchers effectively share scientific data over the course of the data life cycle. Examples from private funders and discipline-specific networks highlighted incremental steps that have fostered culture change and investigators’ earlier consideration of options for data sharing and reuse. 

A key challenge cited throughout the two-day workshop is balancing the perception of data management and sharing as compliance versus a way to expand scientific reach. This will require culture change across the scientific enterprise, as well as resources – financial, physical, and technical. Researchers, institutions, and funders convened to lay out effective data management and sharing practices – which can vary by discipline.

FABBS appreciates that behavioral and cognitive scientists were well represented in the stakeholder perspectives. 

FABBS has been working to serve as a resource to our community and to actively engage with NIH colleagues to anticipate and address complexities related to data sharing and management requirements. To this end, FABBS developed the Data Standards for Behavioral and Brain Sciences Webinar Series. The three sessions provided information about federal requirements and potential support for establishing data standards, opportunities for data sharing and discovery, and examples of data depositories in our fields, including DatabraryOpen Neuro, and the Wordbank Project.

FABBS has drafted a response to the recent NIH Request for Information Use of Common Data Elements (CDEs) in NIH-funded Research, responses due by May 28, 2021. This is an important opportunity for our community to bring attention to current efforts in our field to use CDEs, identify challenges and suggest tools, infrastructures and incentives to advance the use of CDEs. 

In addition, FABBS is a sponsor of the NASEM study, Accelerating Behavioral Science Through Ontology Development and Use. Ontologies – defined as the “systematic classification systems and/or knowledge structures that specify concepts of science with agreed upon labels and definitions and provide a framework for multiple-complex relationships among the concepts” – enable efficient knowledge generation, organization, reuse, integration, and analysis. The goal of this study is to define the scope of ontology development for behavioral science research (BSR), summarize the state of behavioral ontology development and use in BSR, and identify compelling use cases as well as approaches, gaps, and challenges that need to be addressed in order to facilitate widespread ontology use in BSR. 

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